Believe it or not, the holiday season is fast approaching! Between family events, parties, out-of-town travel, and anything in between, this time of year can be overwhelming for our four-legged friends. To avoid unnecessary stress, you’ll want to prepare your dog for the holidays before the season is in full swing.
Before the festivities begin, why not treat your pup to a day of pampering? Start by choosing a low-scent or scent-free shampoo designed specifically for dogs or cats, such as the one by Burt’s Bees, and grab your water-safe brushes to help remove excess hair. To keep your pup distracted while you give them a good scrubbing, it can be helpful to spread some of their favorite Freshpet rolls on a lick mat, like the one by Lickimat. If this is the first time you’ve given your dog a bath, check out these tips for grooming your dog at home.
If you don’t usually have children around the house, get familiar with the process of introducing them so that your dog is prepared for the holidays. When introducing your dog to children and babies, you’ll want to follow these steps:
Of course, even after proper introductions, it’s important that children and dogs are always supervised when they’re together. For more tips, take a look at our guide for introducing your dog to babies.
Another way to prepare your dog for the holidays is to brush up on their basic commands. Knowing that your dog will respond to key commands such as “off”, “leave it”, “stay”, “go to your bed”, and “come” will give you peace of mind when the holiday season is in full swing. Especially if your dog joins for any parties, there’s a lot of things they could get into and having your dog respond consistently to these commands can help you prevent problems before they occur.
While days during the holiday season are often much different for you, try and minimize the changes that your dog experiences. Dogs thrive when their days follow a predictable routine, so whenever possible stick to their regular daily schedule during the holidays – especially if they will be traveling with you. This includes:
If parts of your dog’s routine have to change, do your best to prepare your dog for this before the holidays. For instance, if you’re traveling somewhere with a time change which will impact when your dog is fed, start to slowly shift their schedule ahead of the holidays.
Despite your best efforts to prepare your dog for the holidays, sometimes they still won’t be comfortable being involved in all of the festivities. If this is the case, it’s best for everyone involved if they stay with a dog sitter temporarily. While it can be hard to celebrate the holidays without your pup, knowing that they’re being cared for by a pet sitter you trust can make a big difference. When conducting your search, ask prospective sitters the following questions:
Asking questions like this will help you find and choose a sitter that has your dog’s best interests at heart. For a full list of questions to ask, take a look at our checklist for what makes a great dog sitter.
Taking the extra time to prepare your dog for the holidays will help ensure that everyone is able to enjoy a stress-free festive season.